Lady Tide Softball Gears Up for Second Run At District IX Class AA Title

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CURWENSVILLE – Last season, the Curwensville Area High School Girls Softball team played the role of new kid on the block as they entered the District IX, Class AA  playoffs for the first time in school history.  This year they have the preseason target on their back as the defending champion.

The 2013 season may have ended for the Lady Tide in the opening round of the PIAA playoffs against a powerful Riverside squad, but they already had earned the first Class AA title in school history.  Head coach Allen Leigey feels that his team is pretty comfortable as the team to beat, and he has challenged them to get back to the title game again.

“This program has never lost a Class AA title game,” Leigey grinned.  “Why would we start now?  We have a different dynamic to the team this year, but I truly believe that we have as good a shot as anyone to be there.”

The first adjustment that the returners will have to get used to is perhaps the lack of power in the batting order.  With the loss of big hitters Taylor Goodman, Tiffany Carter and Cheyenne Pentz due to graduation, the long ball may be missing from the line-up.  Also graduating were steady starters in center and left field in Sarah Wriglesworth and Abby Johnson respectively.

“There’s no doubt that we will miss the instant offense that last year’s seniors brought to the dance,” Leigey said.  “But we should be able to turn in a better team average this season.  We may need more hits to score runs, but we will also use more team speed to make things happen.”

The strength of the Lady Tide game will come from its four returning starters.  Tierra Shope, a four-year starter,  will once again handle the pitching duties and will become a regular in the batting order.  Abby Dugo will slide from third to short on the infield and will probably start the year as the lead-off hitter.  Alaina Stiles gives way in right to play second base and junior Nikki Harker will remain at first.  Stiles and Harker will man the power spots in the line-up.

“Alaina and Nikki will provide us with some pop this season along with Megan McCartney and Kealy Wassil in the designated player position,”  Leigey mentioned.  “We play good enough defense and are solid enough in the circle to win games; I told the girls we need three runs a game to win a lot of games.”

While the vets give their coach some comfort, those wins will depend a lot on the new faces filling the vacancies.  Senior Melanie Milliron looks to fill in in right while senior Bethany Carns and junior Jordan Round continue to battle for the spot at third.  Sophomores Haley McGarry and Riley Young move into the roles of catcher and left fielder respectively.   The vacant centerfield position has been filled by freshman Hannah Dixon.

“Our younger players will have to age quickly,” admitted Leigey.  “I have one freshman starting and two (Kayla Harnett and Camryn Richards) who will be looking to work themselves into the mix.

“Our speed allows us to put more pressure on our opponent’s defense.  We want to string hits together, look to go from first to third on hits, steal bases and always display the threat of a bunt.”

In the district clash, Curwensville’s main obstacle appears to be Karns City while the pitching of Elk County Catholic and West Branch provide stiff competition in the regular season.

The Lady Tide are scheduled to open the season on Monday, March 24 against Johnsonburg.  If the game is played, it has already been decided that the site would change.  The game would be played at Riverside stadium if the weather permits.

ROSTER  

Seniors

Bethany Carns IF, Abby Dugo SS, Melanie Milliron OF, Tierra Shope P, Kealy Wassil IF.

Juniors

Nikki Harker 1B, Marissa Kuntz OF, Megan McCartney OF, Jourdan Round 3B, , Jazmin Soult OF, Alaina Stiles 2B.

Sophomores

Haley McGarry C, Riley Young OF.

Freshman

Hannah Dixon OF, Kayla Harnett IF, Camryn Richards OF.

SCHEDULE

DATE

OPPONENT

TIME

 

3/24

at Johnsonburg

4:15

3/26 DuBOIS CENTRAL CATHOLIC

4:15

3/31

BROOKVILLE

4:15

4/2 at Sheffield

3:30

4/2 at Sheffield

5:00

4/4 HARMONY

4:15

4/7 KANE

4:15

4/9 at Elk County Catholic

4:15

4/11 at West Branch

3:00

4/14 BROCKWAY

4:15

4/21 at Moshannon Valley

4:30

4/23 JOHNSONBURG

4:15

4/28 at DuBois Central Catholic

4:15

4/30 CLARION-LIMESTONE

4:15

5/1 GLENDALE

4:15

5/3 REDBANK VALLEY

12:00

5/5 at Kane

4:15

5/7 ELK COUNTY CATHOLIC

4:15

5/12 at Brockway

4:15

5/14 at Clarion-Limestone

4:15

 

 

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